Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 in review

How do I even start to sum up 2015? So much has happened in the past twelve months that it seems nearly impossible! I contemplated the best way to go about this post...month by month? in categories? highlighting just the most important things that happened?

(from this post)


Taking a step back from blogging
If you take a look at my sidebar, you'll see 2015 saw a lot less posts on my blog than in past years.  Although it wasn't necessarily intentional to take multiple breaks from blogging, looking back I'm actually pretty happy I did.  Not focusing on blogging allowed me to spend lots of time with my friends at college and make the most of my last year at Sweet Briar (not to mention - spending a lot of time at the library and boosting my GPA high enough to graduate with latin honors!)

Graduation
I don't think much explanation is needed for this one!  After seventeen years of school, I've finally walked out with the biggest (and most expensive) piece of paper!

First "big girl" job
Right up until the night before graduation, I was sending in job applications like crazy.  I just couldn't imagine graduating, moving home, and having no idea what to do with myself.  I was lucky enough to contact someone from high school who now works at my job, and she was actually looking to hire someone who does just what I studied! I had about a month of summer before I started my job, and anymore more than that I certainly would have gone insane!


(from this post)

I have no idea what's to come in 2016, but I do know that it will take a lot to top 2015.

xx, Rebecca

Monday, December 21, 2015

hot coco

Now that it's finally cold outside, I want all of the hot beverages - specifically hot coco. The little packets are great, but the homemade, made over the stove with milk kind, is the best.  Even better?  It's super simple to make, and it makes enough for a whole crowd.  But if you make it for yourself and save the rest to heat up the next morning, I won't tell anyone...

So let's put on some Christmas music (this spotify playlist is my current favorite), and get cooking!


Ingredients:
(this recipe is adapted from this Gimme Some Oven recipe)
4 cups of milk (Any kind of milk will work.  I used 1% because that's what we keep in the house.)
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
Mini Marshmallows

Some other fun toppings...crushed candy cane, chocolate syrup, chocolate bar shavings..


The steps are really simple...

Just put the milk into a medium-sized pan on medium heat.  Let the milk heat up, but don't let it start boiling!  Once the milk is warming up, add the cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla extract, and pinch of salt.  Continuously whisk the mixture until combined, and then let simmer on the stove for a few more minutes until it is the desired temperature.


Once it's done, ladle it into a festive mug, add some mini marshmallows on top, fix yourself a plate of christmas cookies, and turn on your favorite Christmas movie or settle in with a good book. (Right now I'm rereading To Kill a Mockingbird before starting Go Set A Watchman.)


xx, Rebecca 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

#HolidaySmile

If your holiday season is anything like mine, you're constantly out shopping to pick up the ingredients for cookies, supplies for a craft project, a last minute gift, or the fixings for a Christmas Day meal.  Christmas is only of my favorite times of year because it means that I get to spend lots of time with my family and friends, nom on the most delicious foods (many of which are made only at Christmas time), and hopefully get a few days to do nothing but relax by the tree with a book in my hand. With all of this Christmas joy and merriment, don't forget to take care of yourself!  A festive manicure, a fresh hairdo, and a whiter smile are sure to make your holiday pictures shine (and totally instagram-worthy!)



While you're tossing sugar and sprinkles or tinsel and ornaments into your cart, head over to the beauty section of Walmart and pick up their special Crest 3D White Whitestrips 1-Hour Express Teeth Whitening BOGO Pack pack.  For just $40, you'll get enough white strips for eight treatments!  Although the packs are exclusively sold through Walmart, you can also place an order on walmart.com and have it sent directly to your house if you're too busy this season to get to Walmart (or if you're like me and you're too scared of the holiday madness you may find!)



Hesitant to try out white strips?  Crest's 3D 1-Hour Express Whitestrips are quick and easy, remove stains in just one hour, and use a special technology that allows you to still talk and eat while using the strips.  So not only can you pick up the white strips while you're out getting all of the things you need, but you can actually use the whitestrips while you're baking cookies, wrapping presents, or chatting on the phone with your far-away friends!



xx, Rebecca

Thank you to Acorn Influence, Crest, and Walmart for sponsoring this post.

Friday, December 4, 2015

24 before 24

I've always been inspired by Mackenzie Horan's 101 in 1001 challenge, but I could never imagine myself able to come up with 101 tasks and actually having the ability to complete all 101 things!  Instead, I decided to come up with 24 tasks to check off before my 24th birthday on February 11, 2017.

I'm eager to dig in (in fact, three of these goals are already "in progress"), and I'll be keeping track on my 24 before 24 page which you can access from the tool bar above my header. Several of these goals have blog posts tied in with them, so you'll also see blog posts here and there about the goals, and I'll link those within the 24 before 24 page, as well!

1. Read five classic novels
2. Read at least thirty new books total.
3. Read two books in Spanish so that I don't forget the language.
3. Cook fourteen new recipes (one per month)
4. Complete three She Reads Truth or If:Equip Devotional plans.
5. Travel internationally.
6. Travel to a new state.
7. Save at least 20% of each paycheck.
8. Vote in the next presidential election.
9. Utilize the manual functions on my camera, and create two styled shoots that use these new skills.
10. Send care packages, out of the blue, to at least two of my friends who are still in college.
11. Go to four new cafes or restaurants in Lancaster, and write a blog post about each.
12. Go to the gym 3x per week for a month.
13. Mail birthday cards to my closet friends.
14. Drink at least 80 oz of water every day for a week.
15. Visit a National Park.
16. Contribute to five non-profit organizations.
17. Donate blood.
18. Go through all of my clothes and donate the things I don't need/want anymore.
19. Send 40 handwritten notes.
20. Unsubscribe to junk mail and manage email subscriptions.
21. Design and print new business cards.
22. Watch all of the Harry Potter movies.
24. Put $25 in my savings account each time I check something off this list.

Here's to a fun year and 3 months before my 24th birthday! 

xo, Rebecca

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

giving tuesday

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday have passed…so what’s left? Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday was developed to follow up with greedy “holidays” like Black Friday and Cyber Monday so that we can give back to our local community during the holiday season.


As someone currently working in the non-profit industry, I can attest to the change that can occur with even the smallest of charitable gifts. For instance, here at the Symphony, a gift of just $50 can repair an instrument that is used in our children’s instrument lending program. Even smaller gifts, of $10 or $25, can support programs that brighten a child’s day or put a warm meal in someone’s belly.


Explore non-profit organizations in your area that make a difference with causes you support.  Whether it is the local soup kitchen the serves a hot meal during the winter months or an organization that throws birthday parties to children in a poverty stricken area of your city, your gift can make a huge difference in the impact that organization is able to make.

xoxo,
Rebecca